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kangamangus: Coming off Zoloft after 9 years

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DMV64   
DMV64

Thank you for writing this about fear/anxiety! It i so helpful, especially the example. Just remembering fear is a response to a threat is helpful. The majority of my symptoms are extreme fear. I want to continue to find ways to work with that.

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kangamangus   
kangamangus
6 hours ago, jkun41 said:

Hi Kang. I read through your thread because I also was on Zoloft. Though we have very different stories, I just wanted to say that I know where you're coming from with the emotional/mental exhaustion, especially with the unwanted thoughts. 

 

When I'm not feeling too stressed I can think logically about stupid thoughts that I have and see that they are unfounded, and that thoughts hold no real truth. 

 

However in the moment, I'm assuming due to the neuro-emotions (especially fear) it's as if I feel like I NEED to entertain them, or disprove them, because they hold some sort of truth. This is obviously false, and is a core belief many of us need to change. 

 

I can't remember if I read it from someone on here, or somewhere else, so I don't take credit for it, but something I have been trying recently (this past week has been a bad one) is attempting to separate fear from anxiety. 

 

Fear is a response to a threat. That threat can be physical (in our case, a physical sensation,) or mental/emotional ("will this ever end"). I suggest *trying* (I say trying because *doing* is often very hard) to tell yourself that the threat has passed. 

 

The hope is that eventually this will train our minds to let go of the fear. Once the fear is lowered we can work on seeing that the anxiety that caused the fear is unfounded. The goal is break these two things up and defeat them separately, as they're often too strong together. 

 

Example that applies to me:

 

Intrusive thought: what if I forget who I am? (I won't!) 

 

This thought makes me fearful. Often resulting in panic. I feel threatened that my cognition is at risk and I often start the exhausting process of "proving" it wrong. Going over my day, who my loved ones are, etc. 

 

Rather than doing that I need to instead tell myself that this "threat" is not present. I haven't forgotten, my mind is working. I will attempt to tell my mind and body that the threat has passed and it can calm down. 

 

Once the fear subsides at least a little, that is when I focus on the anxiety of the intrusive thought. Was the thought ever founded? No. That's all the attention it needs. No need to battle it or prove it wrong. Just tell yourself, it was never true and never will be. Admitting, this is very hard, and I have a lot of trouble successfully doing this. 

 

This can also help us in separating emotions/feelings from thoughts. 

 

Again, I realize our situations are different, but you had mentioned being bothered by thoughts of self harm so I thought it would be useful. 

Thank you Jkun, this is very helpful. I think I feel the physical response in my body and I am looking for a reason for it, causing me to feel the extreme fear and distress. I am working on recognizing them as chemical thoughts and not a real representation of my own thought patterns. No amount of positive self talk helps in this situation so I think your idea is valid, just acknowledge the thoughts and try to move past them. Easier said than done though! I will try your technique and see if it helps any.

 

So it has now been over 48 hours since I updosed my Zoloft. I have not had any adverse reactions yet, and in fact I am feeling much better than I have in the past couple of weeks. Last night I was feeling completely "normal", even feeling happy and joking around with my family. If only I could feel that way all the time! I stayed up quite late last night because I was enjoying the feeling so much. I even watched some TV, something I haven't done in quite a while since the intrusive thoughts make it difficult. I slept in late today and woke up feeling rather blah. I recognized the cortisol morning feeling I have been having for quite a while, but it seemed to dissipate quicker than normal. I didn't wake up from a dream with my heart racing either, which is a positive change. Right now its about 3:30pm and I am feeling okay. My anxiety comes and goes, and I do have some depressing thoughts but it feels like they can't really latch on to anything and I quickly move on from them. This is quite the difference compared to the past 2 weeks. I am hoping and praying that the updose is working for me and I continue to feel this way, although I am prepared if I fall into another wave again. I am hoping that if I feel relatively good for a while, I will be able to find a job. I am also hoping that I will be able to take some classes at school in the spring, either online or in person. The idea of doing either of those things 4 days ago would have scared the hell out of me,  but right now I can feel some positive feelings towards my future. 

 

I will keep a close eye on my symptoms and keep updating for the next few days as the updose takes hold. Thank you for the positive words and encouragement!

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jkun41   
jkun41

You're absolutely right that it's easier said than done. And I agree, I'll continue the positive self talk, but don't always find it helpful, so for now I'll just continue working on recognizing thoughts as nothing more than that, and hopefully teach my body that it doesn't need to be fearful. 

 

If you don't mind my asking, as I've seen you mention it in this thread, how do you get past the feelings of fog or "blankness"? I've been struggling with them today and having trouble not getting worked up. 

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kangamangus   
kangamangus
3 minutes ago, jkun41 said:

You're absolutely right that it's easier said than done. And I agree, I'll continue the positive self talk, but don't always find it helpful, so for now I'll just continue working on recognizing thoughts as nothing more than that, and hopefully teach my body that it doesn't need to be fearful. 

 

If you don't mind my asking, as I've seen you mention it in this thread, how do you get past the feelings of fog or "blankness"? I've been struggling with them today and having trouble not getting worked up. 

I think that's the key, acknowledging the thoughts and feelings but not trying to fight them. You can't change how you feel but you can change how you react to feelings.

That is honestly how I deal with the "fog". I notice it and I think "Huh, there's that feeling again. That really sucks." Instead of fighting the feeling and trying to feel more connected, I just acknowledge that it's happening and continue with whatever I am doing. It sucks, but I think that's all you can do about it. 

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jkun41   
jkun41

Thanks for the advice. It's funny how it always seems easier to give advice than follow it. 

 

I'll do my best to just move on with whatever I'm doing. 

 

I hope you continue doing well. 

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Littlegrandma   
Littlegrandma

Kang, 

I'm so happy for you right now. Hope you're good feeling continues. 

Ive been pretty upset about your situation...,had to talk about it with my daughter this morning. You're a few years younger than her. It breaks my heart that someone so young should have to endure so much pain. I don't like it for this old fart either but I could not bear to see my children suffer. You've been in my thoughts  a lot lately....

hugs, lg

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kangamangus   
kangamangus
19 hours ago, Littlegrandma said:

Kang, 

I'm so happy for you right now. Hope you're good feeling continues. 

Ive been pretty upset about your situation...,had to talk about it with my daughter this morning. You're a few years younger than her. It breaks my heart that someone so young should have to endure so much pain. I don't like it for this old fart either but I could not bear to see my children suffer. You've been in my thoughts  a lot lately....

hugs, lg

Thank you for thinking about me, it really does mean a lot. I think its unfair that people of any age have to endure such pain. It's not fair to anybody. All we can do is accept it and do the best that we can. You have been in my thoughts too, and I hope you feel better soon :)

 

It is now over 72 hours since I have updosed on my Zoloft. No adverse reactions that I can tell, maybe a little bit more anxiety but nothing extreme at all. I was more depressed today than I was yesterday, but nothing compared to how I was this past weekend. It's of course difficult but it's not unbearable like it was then. I hope that this is the trend and I don't dip any lower. Thank you all again for your support. 

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kangamangus   
kangamangus

Hi folks, wanted to update. It has been almost 6 days since my updose, and things are going okay. For the first couple of days I felt a huge relief from depression and the terror, but unfortunately it has crept back up on me again. Yesterday and today were difficult, but not as bad as last week. I also felt some annoying DP/DR tonight for the first time in almost a month, but it passed fairly quickly, but I do still feel a bit "foggy". I will keep an eye on that in the next few days. I am also experiencing some aches and pains in my legs mainly. Not unbearable, but certainly not pleasant. Overall I am okay, hoping that things will improve. Hope everyone is well. 

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ChessieCat   
ChessieCat

That's good to hear KM

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kangamangus   
kangamangus
1 hour ago, ChessieCat said:

That's good to hear KM

Thanks Chessie. Feeling pretty good right now, but the leg muscle pains are really getting to me :(  I heard magnesium is good for the muscle aches, anybody have experience with this? I take fish oil but haven't tried magnesium yet

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ChessieCat   
ChessieCat

Here's the Magnesium  topic.

 

I take magnesium to take the edge of my anxiety.

 

When I walk I get very tight and sore lower leg muscles.  One day a week I have to walk from the station to the office and the last time I took double the magnesium I usually take in the morning and I think it did improve it a bit.  I seemed to be able to walk further than previously before it got bad.  I've decided that from now on I'm going to stop half way to give my muscles a chance to relax.  I've found that stretching them whilst on the escalator doesn't seem to make any difference, they just need a rest.

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kangamangus   
kangamangus

Thanks, I'll read that. Sorry I should have searched before asking, was pretty tired last night. I ended up taking 2 ibuprofen and it took care of the leg aches almost completely so I was able to get some decent sleep. Woke up this morning with DP/DR but it has faded almost completely again. Plus I feel like I am more equipped to deal with it now that I know what it is. When it first happened to me I thought that I might have been losing my mind. Depression is still there but overall I would say its about 30-40% better than it was last week. I am physically feeling worse but I am not sure if that's from my reinstatement. I think last week I was so focused on my depression that I wasn't really paying attention to how my body felt. Now I have body aches and general soreness. Some slight muscle twitching too, although I had that issue the whole time I was on Zoloft anyway and it never bothered me too much. Just generally feeling kind of run-down right now. Emotionally I feel like I am in a better place though and for that I am very grateful. 

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ChessieCat   
ChessieCat
5 hours ago, kangamangus said:

Woke up this morning with DP/DR but it has faded almost completely again. Plus I feel like I am more equipped to deal with it now that I know what it is. When it first happened to me I thought that I might have been losing my mind

 

Yes, knowing what it is and understanding why definitely helps.  When we don't know then we become scared and worried and that can lead to anxiety and panic, which is caused by the fear and can very quickly spiral out of control.

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kangamangus   
kangamangus
2 hours ago, ChessieCat said:

 

Yes, knowing what it is and understanding why definitely helps.  When we don't know then we become scared and worried and that can lead to anxiety and panic, which is caused by the fear and can very quickly spiral out of control.

Yes, although it is frightening at least I know now why it is happening. I also know that it's not a permanent state for me which is a huge relief! So while my depression has definitely crept back into my life over the past few days, I am still experiencing what I would call "windows" at night time where the emotional pain is lessened and much easier to bear. Today was difficult as I had quite a few what I would call "neuro-emotions". Even Pizza was making me upset.... I just kept thinking about how Pizza is bad for you and how America eats such sh*tty food and it was really bumming me out. Then I took the trash out and I kept thinking about all the trash people produce and climate change and I was feeling super guilty and feeling even more bummed out.... I also kept having lot's of memories of growing up at my dads house. My parents are divorced and I was always a little melancholy at my dads house because I guess I felt like I didn't really belong there or something...That definitely sounds like neuro-emotions right? Super devastating in the moment but now a few hours later looking back it doesn't seem so bad. I mean that stuff definitely still bothers me so there is a grain of truth to it which makes it harder to see as a neuro-emotion. Super frustrating! My physical symptoms haven't really let up at night but I am lying in bed right now so they don't really bother me as much to be honest. Hope everyone is having a good evening.

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ChessieCat   
ChessieCat
3 minutes ago, kangamangus said:

That definitely sounds like neuro-emotions right?

 

Yes, it sounds like it.  And I am experiencing something similar.  And again because I know what it is I find I am better able to deal with it.  It would be nice, though, if they were pleasant memories rather than the unpleasant ones.

 

I assume you have seen the Neuro Emotions topic.  Have you seen this oneOCD Obsessive Thoughts, Compulsive Behaviours

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kangamangus   
kangamangus
6 minutes ago, ChessieCat said:

 

Yes, it sounds like it.  And I am experiencing something similar.  And again because I know what it is I find I am better able to deal with it.  It would be nice, though, if they were pleasant memories rather than the unpleasant ones.

 

I assume you have seen the Neuro Emotions topic.  Have you seen this oneOCD Obsessive Thoughts, Compulsive Behaviours

Thanks Chessie I'll read that. I didn't consider my thoughts to be "obsessive" but I that's clearly what they are. I mean I relate literally almost everything back to climate change now. Its maddening. The A/C come on??? Oh thats bad for the environment. Driving my car? I feel guilty about it. Everytime I think about my future, I always think about what the climate will be like then. I think about how I will feel once I am recovered and what I want to do with my life, and I just think about what the environment will be like then and if I even really want to be around to see it. Obsessive clearly. I will read that topic and mention this to my CBT when I see him on Tuesday. 

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kangamangus   
kangamangus

Hi folks, another update. It is now 1 week since my updose. I think overall I am better off. Emotionally I feel a bit better, but physically I feel a bit worse. I think the Zoloft side effects are really kicking my ass, as I really feel like an 80 year old man. My body aches, I am fatigued, and my appetite is pretty bad. Honestly that might be contributing to how crappy I feel, I haven't eaten hardly anything this weekend. Off the top of my head I ate 2 pieces of pizza, some jellybeans and some rice. Wow, writing that down makes me realize how bad that is. I normally don't eat so poorly but I have been housesitting all weekend and I just haven't had the energy to go out and grab food and that's all that was here. 

 

DR is still hanging around as I feel quite "floaty" and disconnected at times, but it's not nearly as bad as the DR I had before. That was the kind of "NOTHING MAKES SENSE EVERYTHING IS A DREAM AM I EVEN REAL?????" kind of DR. (Now that I am thinking about it, I start to feel that kind of DR. Dammit) Not fun at all.

 

Also having waves of neuro-emotions. I have always been a sensitive person but now it's just ridiculous. It's all related back to my obsessions, which right now is climate change. I mentioned it in my last post but I relate EVERYTHING back to it. It's pure craziness. Even drinking water makes me depressed because I think of water shortages and droughts and stuff. I mean come on.... it's just ridiculous. Also thought about a date I went on when I was 15... I remember feeling quite socially awkward then and today it seemed so painful for me to remember. Will definitely be mentioning it to my therapist on tuesday. Have I mentioned how awesome my therapist is??? He fully supports me in coming off of psych meds. When I saw him last Thursday, we had a "walking" session. We walked around the woods and neighborhood while meditating and talking. I have been to quite a few therapists and I have never done that before! He also gave me his personal cell phone number and made me promise to call him if I am ever feeling like I am in a crisis. Truly a great guy, I feel lucky to have found him when I did.

 

I am still quite fearful of what is happening to me and fearful of the future, but it's not a soul wrenching as it was a week ago. Last Sunday I was in such a bad way I was crying out to god and literally yelling at myself in the mirror to get a grip. I was freaking out about my situation, it was not good. Then that night I had a window and was laughing at how ridiculous I was being. God it's been a hell of a journey so far these past few months. All of the days seem to blend together a bit, but I suppose that's to be expected when you don't really do anything all day except try to survive. I would love to be back in school more than anything, but I don't quite feel stable enough yet. I think I am going to sign up for classes in the spring anyway, I have until December to pay for them and I can always just drop them before then if I feel like I wont be ready. But I think for now it will give me a goal to work towards and something to look forward to. I have also made a promise to myself to hang out with my friends at least once a week. I don't care if it's only for 30 minutes and I have to leave because I am about to cry, but I am going to try. No more isolating myself and feeling sorry for myself. I need to take control of this situation if I want to heal and learn techniques to cope. I can't do that if I am hiding away in my room all the time. I am terrified of course but I am coming to accept my situation and make the most out of it. I am using this as an opportunity to do some serious soul searching and gain some valuable skills to use when I am hopefully(definitely) healed one day.

 

I can't that the people on this site enough for all of your information and support. I look back at my initial posts and laugh a little bit. I was really struggling and hurting then but I was in denial about it so I was holding back on my posts. I didnt want to believe that I had damaged myself with drugs. I try not to dwell too much on here, but it has been a good source of hope for me. It put's my own struggles in perspective and gives me the opportunity to relate to people going through something similar. This has been quite the lonely experience for me but it's nice having people who really get it. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
removed ***

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DMV64   
DMV64

Thank you so much for this update. I really felt so comforted just reading everything you been feeling and about your therapist in the walking session. Thank you for sharing! I hope you are feeling really well really soon.

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kangamangus   
kangamangus
47 minutes ago, DMV64 said:

Thank you so much for this update. I really felt so comforted just reading everything you been feeling and about your therapist in the walking session. Thank you for sharing! I hope you are feeling really well really soon.

You're quite welcome. I'm glad it could be of some comfort to you :) Thank you so much, I hope you feel well soon too. 

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Littlegrandma   
Littlegrandma

Thinking of you. 

Im so glad you have a great therapist. 

Wish there was more I could say or do

lg

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kangamangus   
kangamangus

Hi guys, back with another update/journal entry. I am still sticking with my updose, and the physical symptoms seem to have backed off a bit, specifically the fatigue, aches, and general pains. My depression is back but I think it's a little bit better than it was before my updose. Really hard to say honestly because its pretty horrible. It seems like I am back to feeling much better at night time with windows lasting a few hours every night. Day is another story however, and my depression and anxiety is absolutely crushing and horrible. It seems so bizzare to go from suicidal to feeling generally okay about 3 hours later. That's really the only thing that tells me this is withdrawal as the mood shift is quite dramatic. I can almost feel the literal weight lifting off of me, its quite strange. Every day is still a struggle unfortunately. If I could feel like I do right now 100% of the time I would be golden. My parents want me to try a different medication as right now I am barely functioning and I recently revealed to them that I had been feeling suicidal. I hope it doesn't come to that :( 

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ChessieCat   
ChessieCat
6 minutes ago, kangamangus said:

My parents want me to try a different medication

 

That sounds like a really great idea NOT!!!  I hope you feel the same ;)

 

The fact that you have noticed some improvement is a really good sign.

 

I understand how hard it can be but just try and remind yourself that it's just a feeling and feelings change.  And in your case it seems rather dramatically.

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DMV64   
DMV64

 I so relate to the days being much harder than the nights. Just recently my days are starting to get better though! 

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kangamangus   
kangamangus
24 minutes ago, ChessieCat said:

 

That sounds like a really great idea NOT!!!  I hope you feel the same ;)

 

The fact that you have noticed some improvement is a really good sign.

 

I understand how hard it can be but just try and remind yourself that it's just a feeling and feelings change.  And in your case it seems rather dramatically.

Yeah terrible idea, I agree. Especially since the last 2 times they tried adding meds I got really horrible DP/DR.... its funny because I found out my dad has had DP/DR before too, although his was from illegal drugs not legal ones. He has never had it for more than a couple hours at a time, and yet he still doesn't understand why I hesitate to try anything new..... gah I'm so tired of all of this already :( just want to live my life.

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kangamangus   
kangamangus
8 minutes ago, DMV64 said:

 I so relate to the days being much harder than the nights. Just recently my days are starting to get better though! 

That's good to hear !

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kangamangus   
kangamangus

Hi, I have a question for you guys. So I have these moments in the day where I feel so overwhelmed with depression that it physically hurts and I am crying and feeling so absolutely crushed. The world seems so painfully empty and horrible and I can't remember a time in my life where I ever felt good. It's all pain. So I cry it out for a bit and then I feel like 80% better. I think about the things that minutes ago were physically painful to me and they don't bother me as much. I can think of happy times, and I can somewhat imagine a future. I was wondering if anybody had any experience with this? It's like my brain is trying to even out, I go through these intense moments of pain and then I feel some relief. I don't know if thats a sign of healing, or if its just my brains way of trying to protect me from the pain. Do you guys think that I will eventually stabilize this way? Like I won't have such extreme ranges of mood all day every day? It's really exhausting to swing back and forth all the time and each time I start to feel so depressed I don't know if I can stand it. I wan't to get to a point where I can even think about tapering off of the meds but it's looking like that wont be for a long long time. I just want some stability in my life :( It's been 2 weeks since my updose and I honestly don't know if I am any better off or not. I think maybe a little but its very hard to say. Anyway, hope everybody else is doing well 

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DMV64   
DMV64
1 hour ago, kangamangus said:

Hi, I have a question for you guys. So I have these moments in the day where I feel so overwhelmed with depression that it physically hurts and I am crying and feeling so absolutely crushed. The world seems so painfully empty and horrible and I can't remember a time in my life where I ever felt good. It's all pain. So I cry it out for a bit and then I feel like 80% better. I think about the things that minutes ago were physically painful to me and they don't bother me as much. I can think of happy times, and I can somewhat imagine a future. I was wondering if anybody had any experience with this? It's like my brain is trying to even out, I go through these intense moments of pain and then I feel some relief. I don't know if thats a sign of healing, or if its just my brains way of trying to protect me from the pain. Do you guys think that I will eventually stabilize this way? Like I won't have such extreme ranges of mood all day every day? It's really exhausting to swing back and forth all the time and each time I start to feel so depressed I don't know if I can stand it. I wan't to get to a point where I can even think about tapering off of the meds but it's looking like that wont be for a long long time. I just want some stability in my life :( It's been 2 weeks since my updose and I honestly don't know if I am any better off or not. I think maybe a little but its very hard to say. Anyway, hope everybody else is doing well 

I had a pretty hard cry today. Glad you are writing. I know I am not alone. 

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Littlegrandma   
Littlegrandma

Me too Kang. Cried a lot today. I feel like I'm going backwards. Starting to have doubts this will ever end. But I'm not remembering happy times. I feel like I've always been this way and always will. 

 But it sounds like you're getting some windows, so hopefully the updose is working for you. That sounds positive!! 🤞🏻Lg

 

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kangamangus   
kangamangus
4 hours ago, ChessieCat said:

It's common:  Neuro Emotions and uncontrollable-crying-spells-during-and-after-withdrawal/

 

 

 

This might help you understand it:   What is Happening in Your Brain

Thanks chessie. I am just worried that I'll never stabilize on the med that I am on. It's a silly fear, I know that, but it's a fear of mine. I would say I was "stable" before my initial cold turkey, although I was suffering from pretty bad depression even while on the med. Nothing like it is now, things seem magnified. Neuro-emotions at work! Glad I can put a name to it now. I am also starting to recognize that chemical feeling I get with the depression now a days. A certain heaviness and pain in my soul. I will just keep holding on and doing the best that I can, but every day is so hard. I am so thankful for my windows though, I get about 3 hours every night where I feel quite a bit better and then it starts to sink back in again. Then the next day I can't even remember that I felt better the night before. I convince myself that I was imagining things. Every day the same, its so frustrating. Really working on mindfulness and gratitude, hoping to rewire my brain a little bit and see how things go. 

 

3 hours ago, DMV64 said:

I had a pretty hard cry today. Glad you are writing. I know I am not alone. 

Nope, you are not alone. I cried for about 5 minutes and it really seemed to make me feel a bit better. Crying is good for you I think :)

 

2 hours ago, Littlegrandma said:

Me too Kang. Cried a lot today. I feel like I'm going backwards. Starting to have doubts this will ever end. But I'm not remembering happy times. I feel like I've always been this way and always will. 

 But it sounds like you're getting some windows, so hopefully the updose is working for you. That sounds positive!! 🤞🏻Lg

 

Well we should just start a crying club then since all of us seem to be doing it today. I know exactly what you mean! When I am in that moment I can't remember a single moment of happiness in my life. I too feel like I have always been this way and always will. To tell the truth, I can't really remember what I was like before I started to take meds. I know I had issues in school, but I had just started to grow into myself I think. I had a ton of friends in high school, and I feel like I really enjoyed my last 2 years there. I can't really remember though :( I know I had good times but I can't remember if the black cloud of depression was looming over me then like it is now. I know I had depression then, but theres no way it was this bad, and it didn't seem to be as permanent then. Since high school my whole life has just gone down hill. I feel like taking the zoloft helped for a little bit and then turned my occasional depression and anxiety into a low grade chronic depression for years and that scares the crap out of me. The scariest thing about it is I just dont know! I can't remember what I was really like! I hope that I am getting windows and not just imagining things! God sometimes I really feel like I am losing it. I have been thinking about you and hope you get some windows soon yourself. You deserve to be happy and feel good, we all do. 

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ChessieCat   
ChessieCat
8 minutes ago, kangamangus said:

I feel like taking the zoloft helped for a little bit and then turned my occasional depression and anxiety into a low grade chronic depression for years and that scares the crap out of me.

 

Psychiatric drugs can end up causing the things that they are supposed to help.  Your Drug May Be Your Problem by Peter Breggin is well worth reading.

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kangamangus   
kangamangus
1 minute ago, ChessieCat said:

 

Psychiatric drugs can end up causing the things that they are supposed to help.  Your Drug May Be Your Problem by Peter Breggin is well worth reading.

I can't believe it took me years to realize this. Medication spellbinding is a real thing. I always thought the drugs were helping me but really things just got worse and worse and I became more dysfunctional. I'll look into that book, I have actually been looking at some youtube videos by Dr. Breggin recently. Simply truths of psychiatry I believe they are called. Very eye opening, I only wish I had seen them 9 years ago(don't we all wish we could go back in time). 

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ChessieCat   
ChessieCat

If you go to my website, link in signature, I have a list on the second page of things I found on the internet, about half way down the page.  The creation of the DSM is excellent.

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